I paid someone a lot of money (a lot for me) to tell me if the topic for my blog was relevant to anyone. We (the research guy and I) summarize the topic as building a business on a foundation of Christian values. So, of course, the research came back and said that many Christian business owners are interested in how to integrate their faith into their business and still be successful. This same group of Christian business owners even worries that it may be wrong to be a Christian and be successful. That’s silly and I write about that in my CrossRoads Manifesto.
I am happy with the focus for my blog and happy that the research said it was a good focus. Then I decide to go onto one of the discussion boards on Linkedin. I picked one of the Christian business groups I belong to. I ask the questions, “Is it hard for you as a Christian Business Owner to integrate your faith with your business?” I think I am doing a smart thing by finding out what the challenges are for my potential readers.
Can you guess the response I received? The first response out of the box was something paraphrased as “ IT IS EASY to integrate my faith and my business. If you are a Christian you know that God is the reason for it all. Right?”
Arguing with the Perfect Jesus Answer
After this answer, would any right-minded Christian business owner who finds it difficult to integrate their faith and their business, admit it after the perfect Jesus answer. The reason I am writing the blog is to help people to integrate their faith and their business….but honestly after the first answer I was feeling more like explaining to this person who has it all figured out, how it might be confusing for some of us.
- How we have been taught to NOT focus on worldly success, yet we need to feed our family and make ends meet.
- How we need our employees to get stuff done, but feel like a bad Christian if we aren’t understanding and forgiving all of the time.
- How over the years we have seen businesses THRIVE on less than Godly values and feel we are in over our heads even trying to compete in the cut throat world.
But then I thought maybe that would defeat the purpose of my blog which is to comfort Christian business owners by the fact that:
- Even if we lose out to the cut throat competition that God will find a way to put food on our table….
- And, if we fire an employee because they kept forgetting to show up for work that we are actually teaching them accountability and that God is for accountability….
- And, that God cares about our business and wants us to be successful ESPECIALLY if we are integrating our FAITH into our work because then we can be like “a city on a hill” to the other Christian business owners who are worried that they can’t be competitive if they focus on a foundation of Christian values.
But this is really the stuff I want to share with you. Because this is what I believe. I think it is scary to be a small business owner because we have so much too lose. We are taking all of the risk ourselves. I started my business a few years ago and I have 20 years of business to fall back on, but that didn’t make me feel any better.
The Three Things that Helped me to Be Brave
Three things helped me be brave enough to go into private practice and I believe have helped me be successful (in my God view) since day 1:
- I pray about my business all of the time. Seriously. I pray for God to be with me each day. I pray He will bring me the clients he wants me to help. I pray He will help me help them. I pray that my work is meaningful to His kingdom. Hell, I even pray that I am praying enough. What if I am taking credit? Maybe I am not on my knees enough? I know, it’s a crazy circular. I remember when I started my Life by Design series announcements. I was scared to do the group because I didn’t know how to gather people to come to the group. It feels so sales-y (because it is). I prayed and prayed for God to bring people. Every time I went to church the thought of this group came to my mind. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Then I was worried that because all I thought about was the group it signified a serious pride issue and God wouldn’t bless it. But, then maybe because I was so earnestly seeking His help, or because He is God and loves us, He ended up bringing even more people than I even prayed to come.
- I seek advice from the bible. The more I read the bible the more I am convinced that God has advice for my every question. He tells me to build my house on rock, not sand. He tells me Christians don’t sue each other. He tells me not to do business with fools. He tells me that I can’t serve to masters. Tell me this stuff doesn’t apply to business.
- I try really hard to walk in obedience. This is hard because what I have learned about business is not always what God tells me to do. What other people advise is not always what God tells me to do. When I was going through grad school my professors thought private practice was a bad choice on getting the hours I needed for my internship. God delivered me all of the hours I needed and then some. I have had several offers to practice coaching and counseling in a non-Christian setting. When you start out without clients it is tempting…but I obeyed God’s call and He brought me the people he wanted me to see. Sometimes I do things that just aren’t profitable, but hopefully they are helpful to people.
I am not saying that this is the whole trick to being successful. I am saying that these are the first three steps I took to building my business on a Christian foundation and they are three good steps for you to do that too.
Instead of having really great challenges from my Linkedin question to write about on my blog I am stuck with writing about my journey as I build my business on my Christian values and as my clients do the same. Which I think is kind of cool because we are all on this path together.
Are You a Rebel and Want to Share Your Challenges?
This gives me all kind of thoughts about the body of Christ and how we all work together for His Kingdom, but I guess I will save that for another post.
If you are a rebel at heart and want to show that you are not intimidated by everyone else knowing the perfect Jesus answer, put your challenges and questions in the comment section. I will humbly offer up my own experience in battling the challenge or maybe some of our other companion Christ followers can share theirs. Thanks for sharing the journey with me!
Debra Stokes says
I don’t think of myself as a rebel, but I am a person who is determined to know my full identity in Christ.
The pressure to recite “the perfect Jesus answer” is so strong within the church. It would take volumes to explain why that is so, but it can be boiled down to the simple truth that the enemy of our soul doesn’t want us to operate in the authority we have as followers of Christ.
I believe that, ultimately, the right answer is IT IS EASY, but the path we must take to get there is not.
Thanks for sharing.
In hindsight it is always easy. I am always so much happier with the outcome when I follow Christ—hopefully over time I see the future with my hindsight glasses! Thanks Debra!